Workers in the Construction industry especially those working with concrete or glass are at risk of developing a condition termed Silicosis.

Silicosis occurs when fibrous tissue forms around the dust particles that have entered the lungs. This fibrous tissue does not allow for the easy exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, resulting in obstructed breathing, a problem for the worker.

Workers most vulnerable to contracting silicosis include underground mining, tunnelling and excavation workers, workers involved in extraction and cutting of quartzite, gneiss, granite and slate, workers involved in brick making or the manufacture of pottery, porcelain, refractory materials and siliceous abrasives, road construction workers and demolition workers.

This video from YouTube highlights the danger that silica can present to construction workers:

http://youtu.be/pt7yU-sPYMc

The only sure way of preventing silicosis is to avoid dust exposure but of course this is not always possible. Wherever possible, less toxic substances should be used rather than silica sand. Tools causing dust such as saws and grinders should be fitted with dust extraction devices.

Another important consideration is that of good housekeeping on site. Some of the measures that can be undertaken are vacuuming and wet sweeping rather than dry sweeping

 

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